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River City Raqs Presents:


Janelle Jalila Issis

Janelle Jallila Issis is a talented and vivacious Palestinian-American national touring artist, choreographer, and performer. With a range of skills including certification as a Yogini and nutritionist, she also holds the distinction of being a CESD signed Model and Dancer.

Janelle gained prominence for her infectious laughter and captivating grace, which took center stage on the acclaimed U.S. television show "So You Think You Can Dance." Her remarkable journey reached its pinnacle during Season 9, where she secured a place as the 6th female finalist. Notably, she stands as a trailblazer, being the only practitioner to blend classical and fusion bellydance techniques on the Fox stage.

In her current endeavors, Janelle Jallila Isis shares her knowledge to embolden women, including individuals like yourself, fostering a holistic approach to mental, physical, and emotional well-being through the enchanting world of dance.

Learn more about her here-


Valerick started ballet, jazz, and acrobatics at the age of nine. From the moment she took her first belly dance class with her mentor Sandra Barreras at thirteen, Valerick became fully dedicated to the study of oriental dance. At fifteen, she took her first workshop with Yousry Sharif in Puerto Rico, changing her oriental dance perspective. She has been mostly focused on Egyptian style and travels annually to New York to participate at Nourhan Sharif events.


In 2007 she spent six months taking classes in Madrid where she studied with Samara el Hayat. After her stay, she traveled to Morocco and Tunisia as part of the "Encounter of Moorish Studies" with the University of Puerto Rico. She also got the opportunity to study with outstanding Egyptian teachers such as Mahmoud Reda, Tito, Lubna, Hassan Affifi and Nervein.


While completing her BA with a major in Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Puerto Rico in 2009, she studied modern dance with the acclaimed choreographer Petra Bravo. In September of that same year, Valerick won the Professional Competition of the Miami Belly Dance Convention.

In 2010 she got the Second Place in the Rakstar Professional competition produced by Virginia Mendez and the People's Choice Award. Valerick is the creator of the annual Lebanese Love Affair dance festival



Jesenia is an artist based out of Jacksonville, FL. She began her dance journey at the age of 5, learning and dancing Puerto Rican Folk dances. At 8, she was introduced to North African and Levant dances. Captivated by history and art that was created due to Arab and African Diaspora, Jesenia continued her studies at the University of Florida to explore the idea of cultural identity in the United States. In 2015, she received a Bachelor of Fine Art with a focus on interdisciplinary art. Her work has evolved over the years and explores the trials and tribulations of womanhood. Every piece draws from her own experiences with love, loss, culture, and healing to tell the story of self-acceptance and actualization.


Anaïs Fatale

Anaïs loves introducing women to the art of belly dance and showing them how belly dancing can help them find happiness and independence. Born in Uzbekistan, she grew up listening to songs from Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt that were popular for Western artists to translate and sing. Becoming a belly dancer brought her freedom, creativity, and self-expression.

She began teaching belly dance because there wasn’t anyone offering classes in her town. She wants people to experience happiness and independence in her belly dance classes and workshops. Her approach to teaching belly dance is to dedicate time in each class to let people experience freedom, creativity, and self-expression through dancing and flowing to belly dance music.

She teaches an open-level fitness-style class called Shimmy Chic Fitness, pop-up workshops, beginner belly dance classes, and open-level belly dance classes. She also hosts pro belly dance stars to teach workshops in Jacksonville, Florida. And she created the annual River City Raqs belly dance convention.

Her professional dance career spans over 20 years of combined experience in Belly Dance and Latin dances like Salsa and Bachata. She’s been featured/cast in:

  • Cast in MTV’s Project Belly Dance (Season 2),

  • Cast twice in Belly Dance Evolution (a theater production),

  • Won Belly Dance Masters competitions as a soloist performer and in a troupe (one of the top belly dance competitions in the industry).


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